One youth hockey club from each of the five major countries that owned October
With the 2022-23 season well underway, there have been some clubs that have stood above the rest. We look at a few programs across all countries and birth years to see who has established themselves as the “best of the best.”
UNITED STATES: 2009 St. Louis AAA Blues
The ’09 St. Louis AAA Blues experienced a fantastic month of October, going 12-2-0. They’ve held firm in the top two spots among U.S. teams since the rankings began for this season. The Blues have fared extremely well against most competition. A statement highlighted by their two-game sweep of No. 22 Dallas Stars Elite just two weeks ago.
Other highlights include two victories against No. 25 Windy City Storm. St. Louis also split two contests with a Top-10 U.S. team, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, a 6-4 loss and 5-3 win.
CANADA: 2008 Vaughan Kings
Finding themselves ranked the No. 1 team among Canadian ‘08 clubs, the Vaughan Kings almost went unbeaten in October. The lone ‘blemish’ of their 12-1-0 record for the month was a 3-2 overtime loss to the North York Rangers on Oct. 2.
While the Kings began the month with a stretch of games against Canadian teams, the latter half of the month saw a change. Vaughan has faced off against some of the best the U.S. has to offer as well. Cross-border matchups are always exciting, and Vaughan showed they can handle even the top teams from another country.
Taking part in the Little Caesars Invitational, they went 5-0-0 en route to the championship. They beat the likes of American ranked No. 6 Little Caesars, No. 10 Pittsburgh Vengeance, and No. 2 Chicago Mission.
SWEDEN: 2010 Viggbyholms IK
Viggbyholms IK has been lights out since the start of the youth hockey season, playing to a 16-0-1 record. While they did not have a busy month of October, their performance has been undeniable.
Kicking off their games with a modest showing at the Farsta Games, they collected back to back gold medals at the Nicklas Backstrom Cup and Nordic Youth Trophy, going undefeated at both.
FINLAND: 2007 Kiekko-Espoo
With group play in full swing in Finland, Kiekko Espoo’s ‘07 team has gotten off to a stellar start. A 10-0-0 month has added to their overall 14-1-1 record.
Some may say that they have yet to face the top teams in their group, but you can only play the games that are scheduled. In October, they handled matchups against KalPa, Jokipojat, K-Vantaa, HYRI and HIFK. Aided by their explosive offense, which tallied 27 goals across six games, while only allowing seven.
An offense that is ignited by the two-way play of forwards Aapo Vanninen (6G, 15A) and Aleksi Kilpeläinen (11G, 9A).
Ranked No. 1 in Finland and No. 10 in the world, they are still the team to beat.
RUSSIA: 2010 CSKA Moscow
Much has been said of the 2010-born CSKA Moscow squad, and rightfully so. What they have been able to accomplish so far this season is nothing short of spectacular, currently sitting with a 21-0-0 record.
CSKA continued their winning ways against their fellow Russian programs this month. Victories over top Russian teams No. 4 Vityaz Podolsk, No. 2 Spartak Moscow. Wins over Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Krylia Sovetov rounded out October as well.
Look no further than the dynamic duo of Nikita Sinikin (27G, 30A) and Roman Andreev (27G, 22A). Their ability to score seemingly at will has propelled CSKA to their position at the top.